By Ahmed Ubandoma
A Foreign Policy Expert, Mr Abdul-Aziz Yusuf, said the Federal Government’s decision to grant 286 foreigners residing in Nigeria citizenship was aimed at boosting the country`s economy and foreign relations.
Yusuf disclosed this on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to him, the move will further strengthen Nigeria`s efforts in sustaining her citizen diplomacy with other countries in the world.
“ The gesture was an integral part of external image management, because it is a part of Nigeria’s foreign policy drive which has assumed an improved prominence in the existing international system.
“ I believe this is a good development for us as a country, because it shows that people are desirous of becoming Nigerians.
”This is because of the economic potentials that abound in the country’’ he said.
The expert said that the move would boost Nigerian economy by ushering in export and import opportunities and foreign direct investment, especially as it relates to technology transfer.
“ I believe the Federal Government action will no doubt improve our economy, increase the production capacity of our population and raise Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as well as increase our per capita income.
“ No doubt, they will add to our labour force as a country by flowing into industries and areas where there is a relative need for workers or where bottlenecks and shortages might otherwise dampen growth’’ Yusuf said.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, had on Thursday presented a certificate of Naturalisation and Registration to 286 foreign nationals and charged them to be good citizens of Nigeria.
NAN also recalled that the policy was introduced by the Federal Government in 2007 and captured under section 27 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The service applies to foreigners that have lived in Nigeria for 15years and above, if they wish to apply for Nigerian citizenship. (NAN)